IPhone sales in China declined 20 percent

Apple iPhone sales in China fell 20 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018, while sales for smartphones made by Chinese rival Huawei soared by 23 percent, data from the industry research firm IDC showed on Monday.

The report is the first to put a firm number on the scale of a recent decline in Apple’s fortunes in the world’s second-largest economy. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, pointed to weak sales in China as a big factor in a rare cut in the company’s quarterly sales forecast last month.

Apple no longer breaks out detailed numbers on iPhone shipments in its quarterly results, meaning that surveys and channel checks by the likes of IDC are often the clearest indicator of shifts in sales.

The figures in the report showed a 19.9 percent fall in Apple’s smartphone shipments in the final quarter of 2018, while Huawei’s grew 23.3 percent. That reduced Apple’s market share to 11.5 percent, from 12.9 percent a year earlier, the report said.

A separate report this month from another common industry source, Hong Kong-based Counterpoint, confirmed a similar sharp fall in Apple sales in India — another market where the company is struggling.

— Reuters


Leak closes part of Keystone pipeline

TransCanada said Monday that a stretch of its Keystone crude pipeline from Nebraska to Illinois remained shut after a leak was discovered in the St. Louis area last week.

The cause and source of the spill have not been determined, and there is no estimated timeline for the pipeline’s restart, TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said in an email. The closure affects the line that runs from Steele City, Neb., to Patoka, Ill.

The Keystone pipeline system, which can carry 590,000 barrels per day, is a critical artery taking Canadian crude from northern Alberta to refineries in the Midwest.

TransCanada told Keystone shippers last week that it was declaring force majeure on shipments affected by the shutdown, according to a notice seen by Reuters. Force majeure is a declaration that unforeseeable circumstances prevented a party from fulfilling a contract.

A surge in crude production in Alberta has overwhelmed existing pipeline infrastructure, forcing the Alberta provincial government to order production cuts starting last month.

Western Canadian heavy crude has attracted greater demand in recent days because of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company.

The total amount of oil spilled has not been determined. Contractors were assessing the exposed pipeline Monday.

— Reuters

Also in Business

U.S. Steel says it is restarting construction on an idled manufacturing facility in Alabama, and it's giving some of the credit to President Trump's trade policies. The Pittsburgh-based company says the president's "strong trade actions" are partly responsible for the resumption of work on an advanced plant near Birmingham. The administration's tariffs have raised prices on imported steel and aluminum. U.S. Steel also cited improving market conditions, union support and government incentives.

The companies that run the English Channel tunnel are suing the British government over its award of ferry contracts to handle freight shipments in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The lawsuit comes just days after one of those contracts, with a start-up company that doesn't own any ships, fell through. Channel Tunnel Group and France-Manche accuse the government of a "secretive and flawed procurement exercise."

Barneys New York, the closely held chain of upscale specialty stores, is partnering with the Los Angeles marijuana brand Beboe to open what it calls a "luxury cannabis and wellness concept shop" on the fifth floor of the Barneys store in Beverly Hills. Dubbed "the High End," the shop will sell marijuana accessories, including rolling papers, pipes, ashtrays, bongs and storage boxes.

Coming today

10 a.m.: Labor Department releases December job openings figures and labor turnover survey.

2 p.m.: Treasury releases federal budget for January.

— From news services